Prevalence of Hepatitis B Infection among Schoolchildren in Southeast Turkey


Abstract: Aim: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a worldwide health problem. The objectives of this study were to determine the impact of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) on the prevalence of HBsAg carrier rate and immunity developed against HBV infection among schoolchildren in southeast Turkey. Materials and Methods: The study population consisted of 147,200 healthy schoolchildren between 6 to 17 years of age living in the Mardin area. A total of 802 children were randomly selected by systematic sampling method. Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), antibody to HBsAg (anti-HBs), and antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc) were analyzed in blood samples by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA General Biological Corp., Taiwan). Results: This study involved 420 (52.4%) male and 382 female (47.6%) schoolchildren with a mean age of 10.4 ± 2.3 years. The overall anti-HBs, anti-HBc, and HBsAg were positive in 724 (90.2%), 56 (7%), and 22 (2.7%) children, respectively. The overall HBV seroprevalence rate was 2.7% . Conclusions: The introduction of the national EPI has successfully decreased the HBV seropositivity possibly by preventing perinatal and horizontal HBV transmission among schoolchildren in southeast Turkey.

Keywords: Hepatitis B, prevalence, vaccine

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